planning a wedding.. and med school??!!

Hi everybody! I am so excited to have found this website as a resource.

I am a 24 year old graduate student right now at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I’m getting my Masters in Early Childhood Special Education w/ an emphasis in infants and toddlers with disabilities. I went to the University of Kansas and got a BA in Psychology and a BA in Applied Behavior Science w/ an emphasis in early childhood education and intervention.

My cumulative GPA for undergrad was 3.14. My psych GPA was 3.0 and my behavior science GPA was, if I remember correctly, 3.68. I didn’t have a stellar undergrad GPA, but it did show a significant upward trend.

At U of I, I have a 3.9 cumulative. My anticipated graduation date is May 2010. If any of you could answer a few questions for me I’d greatly appreciate it.

1.) Some of the post-bacc programs require pre-reqs for the med school pre-reqs. Not quite sure how they get away with this. Frustrating because I have tons of classroom experience in various areas, but for example, Northwestern requires biology before even applying to the program. Can I apply to these schools as a non-traditional non-degree seeking student and just take the pre-med sequencing of classes or in your opinion(s), does it “look better” to be part of a post-bacc program? What are the benefits/cons of doing it either way?

2.) How easy is it to find scholarships for non-trads or post-bacc students?

3.) Having some trouble dealing with the fact that I’m getting married soon and want to start having a family. The logical option is for me to do some sort of 2 year program to get the pre-reqs, see if I’m ready to have kids at that point, and then apply to med school later on in life if I want to. I figure if I want to go straight into medical school after 2 years then I’ll do that, but if I want to slow down, have some kids, etc, at least I’ll have the pre-reqs to apply later on in life to med school. Sound like a decent idea?

4.) Some of these schools have very early application deadlines. How am I supposed to send out a grad school transcript (with a MUCH better cumulative GPA that I want to be included!) when the deadline is like, literally 1 week after graduation? I’m gonna have to wait a year to apply, correct? Or do schools take into consideration “incomplete” (i.e. unfinished) degrees/transcripts that do have, at least, an anticipated graduation date? I have many things at U of I, publications, professional presentations, poster presentations and conferences, a thesis/research project, etc, that I know won’t show up on a transcript, but it is important to me nonetheless to have all of this sent to schools as a cohesive package (meaning, I want to include U of I as part of my education when applying to these programs). This is also where the majority of my educational and professional recommendation letters will come from.

I have always wanted to go to medical school but never really looked into taking the plunge until now. I am doing an internship at Easter Seals right now and they have a developmental pediatrician there, the area that I’d want to focus in, and he has just completely inspired me to go for it.

Thank you so much for all your help! My parents and family members are just thrilled at the thought of me going to med school (and a supportive fiance too) but I am just SHAKING here thinking about how this will change/rotate/twirl/spin my life around in every direction!

Hi! I also went to UIUC, and got an undergrad degree in journalism there (class of '03). I currently live in the Chicago 'burbs, and I’m thinking about a formal post baccalaureate program as well (hopefully starting the fall of 2010). I’ve looked into the Northwestern program, and even gone in and talked to their continuing ed advisor assigned to that program, and he was very helpful. The program seems very good, and it’s the only evening/part-time program in the Chicago area (the others require that you take daytime classes, at least most of the time). However, it’s in Evanston, so unless you relocate to an area near there, it’s not very convenient. (For me, it would be a 1.25-hour pain-in-the-ass drive, or about a 2-hour public trans commute – each way). Plus, you’re right about the pre-reqs – bio and a math class. You can, however, knock these pre reqs out of the way if you study hard on your own and take CLEP exams for both bio and college algebra (the review books are available at your local Border’s or Barnes & Noble for about $20 a pop). The advisor I talked to confirmed this for me. And NU is a great name to have on your transcript. It is, however, VERY expensive - even for the part-time program.

There’s also a program at Loyola, and one at Dominican University. I’m personally looking into the one at Dominican. I know it’s not as big of a name, but it’s a good school, classes are small so you get to know the profs (no TAs, from what I understand). They have a pretty good course selection, and one of the req’d classes is an internship at a local hospital – the coveted clinical experience that all med schools require. Plus they offer an MCAT review class. It’s not cheap, certainly not as cheap as doing the classes on your own, but I’ve been out of school for several years and I’d really like the structure and guidance of a formal program, the chance to be around students who are in a similar position as myself, etc. Plus, the goal of doing a post bac program is to get into med school (or another health program). The profs and advisors you’d be working with understand this, and in my opinion, are likely more prepared to help you in this endeavor. I’ve talked to the director of the Dominican program as well, and he seems to know his stuff. I have some more research to do, and lots more questions to ask, but that’s my preliminary finding.

BTW - message me if you ever want to wax poetic (or not so poetic) about UIUC and/or C-U – it would be quite a nostalgic trip for me! My youngest sister is actually a junior there right now (she’s a psych major), so I was down at the beginning of the year to help her move in. I wasn’t down there long, but long enough to know that the place has drastically changed since I went to school there. I’d love to hear your take on what it’s like now. Take care, and best of luck to you.

Ibecarly and terra_incognita,

I also did my pre-med coursework in Chicago. I do not believe it is important to do the coursework in a formalized post-bacc program–I’m not sure that it really gives you any sort of advantage. I actually did my coursework at Roosevelt University. I’m not sure how it compares cost-wise, but I was very pleased with my education there (it does require that you be motivated to get the most of the teaching and opportunities). I also got admissions offers from medical schools at my top choices. It has been 4 years since I was there, but at that time you could do all the pre-med coursework in the evenings (physics on Saturdays). I’d be happy to put you in contact with the department chairperson if you’re interested–he’s a really great guy and very interested in assisting motivated students. Drop me a private message if you’re interested or have other questions.

Best of luck with your endeavors.